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Lesotho develops policy to prevent learner pregnancy

UNFPA Representative to Lesotho Dr Marc Derveeuw


July 10, 2021 2 min read

2 min read


LESOTHO is in the process of developing a policy that will prevent and manage Early and Unintended Pregnancy for Learners (EUP).

The process, led by the Ministry of Education and Training, is financially supported by the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund).

This has been prompted by data from the Education Management Information System (EMIS) and studies which show that early and unintended pregnancies coupled with child marriages are among the key factors that lead to girl children dropping out of school.

"For example, the Lesotho Demographic Health Survey (LHDS 2014) has shown that 19percent of women aged 15 – 19 had begun childbearing in Lesotho and of these, 15percent had had a live birth and 4percent were pregnant at the time of the interview.

“It further shows that the proportion of teenagers who have begun childbearing rises rapidly with age, from 3percent at age 15 to 4percent at age 19 and rural teenagers and those in the lowest wealth quintile tend to start childbearing earlier than other teenagers," the UNFPA says in a press release.

On the other hand, a brief analysis of data from the 2015 EMIS also reveals that pregnancy is the number four cause for girls’ dropping out of secondary school that comes after cause number three - no money for school fees, marriage and failure in school.

It showed that considering that most of the early marriages are as a result of pregnancy, when the numbers of girls who dropout of schools as a result of pregnancy and marriage are combined, they become the primary reason why girls dropped out of school in 2015 at 37.31percent.

As part of mitigation measures, among others, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) through the UNFPA’s support, has begun the processes of developing the EUP Policy.


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Speaking during the review meeting this week, the UNFPA Representative to Lesotho Dr Marc Derveeuw underscored the pertinence for the policy to address all elements which have to do with prevention of pregnancy at school, including comprehensive sexuality education, adolescent friendly health services, awareness to contraceptive services and HIV prevention.

He also highlighted the meeting on the partnership between UNFPA and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) on prevention of pregnancies in secondary schools and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse at the Polihali Dam construction area.

UNFPA already supports delivery of Life Skills Sexuality Education in Schools and Comprehensive Sexuality Education Programmes out of School as well as accessibility and availability of modern contraceptives of for adolescents and young people including comprehensive condom programming.

 

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